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United Airlines to pay $850,000 settlement for disability bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Chicago-based United Airlines agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit stemming from practices at San Francisco International Airport. The case involved a United policy restricting overtime for workers who had been placed in light-duty assignments.

Samuel Chetcuti, who has epilepsy, worked as a storekeeper for United at the San Francisco airport. His medical restrictions kept him from operating heavy machinery and working high above the ground, but they did not limit the number of hours he could work. Unfortunately for him, United’s light-duty policy did.

He filed a complaint with the EEOC, claiming the policy discriminated against disabled workers because it barred them from working overtime even when they were medically cleared to do so.

The ADA protects qualified workers with disabilities.

United agreed to settle the case for $850,000. Any current or former employee harmed by the policy could potentially be compensated from the fund.

The no-overtime policy has been rescinded under terms of the settlement.

Advice: Review any blanket policy pertaining to disabled workers. The ADA requires employers to treat each case uniquely and work with the employee to find a reasonable accommodation. Unique solutions seldom mix well with across-the-board policies.

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